What is the fee for a defense attorney specializing in Federal criminal drug cases?

Asked over 5 years ago - Las Vegas, NV

My son was with a girl who was pulled over with 10,000 pilss of escasty in Nevada in Dec 2008. Her car he was driving. She said it was his not hers and now we have to hire an attorney to prove his innocense.
What at the fees? They want 150,000 just to take the case on
They traveled from CA To Nevada

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Michael A Orozco

    Contributor Level 11

    1

    Lawyer agrees

    1

    Answered . Every attorney is different, and every case is different. Dependent on the attorney's experience, $150,000.00 is not an unreasonable retainer fee. You should thoroughly research the attorney, contact the local bar association where he/she is a member, and ask them about his/her prior experience in federal district court.

  2. Theodore W. Robinson

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . As has been mentioned before $150,000. is not completely out of the question in Federal Court defenses. The reason for this is because of the fact that any attorney who takes over such a case is required by the Court to not only try the case to completion, they also must prosecute any appeal within a very short time of any conviction. And they can't get off the case once they're on it. That's why they charge so much up front - to protect themselves long in advance.

    Before you hire any attorney, make sure to check to see how many Federal cases they've had before and how many, if any, they've tried. This is important because Federal trials, especially drug trials are very hard to defend because of the conspiracy laws and the fact that the Federal rules of evidence allow so much otherwise unacceptable evidence to be considered by the jury.

    One thing, you don't have to prove his innocence. They have to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt and he starts out with a presumption of innocence and carries that protection until such time as the jury finds him otherwise.

  3. Andrew Lee Westover

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . You definitely want to have an attorney with Federal experience. Fed courts are vastly different than State criminal courts.

    For a fee of $150,000, I would expect your attorney to be with you all the way through trial. That number is probably an estimate as to the total fee after a full trial. Your best bet is to look for an attorney that will give you a flat rate up to trial, and then an hourly rate for trial.

    This can be very expensive..... Seriously look at the Office of the Federal Public Defender in Las Vegas. Even if your son does not go with the FPD, you can get referral's to good attorney's with Federal Experience. Look specifically for those that are members of the Criminal Justice Act (CJA) panel.

    Good luck....

  4. Ryan Patrick McClure

    Contributor Level 13

    Answered . I would agree what what others have posted. Every attorney is different and the fees may change considerably from attorney to attorney. Your best bet is to call around. Feel free to contact my office as I may have a referral for you in this area. Good luck!

  5. Paul Jeffrey Wallin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . Federal criminal defense cases can be costly in terms of legal fees. However, you will likely want to seek out a highly experienced criminal defense attorney who practices in Nevada. This will save you money because that will avoid paying for travel time. If you wish our law firm to refer you to an experienced lawyer in Nevada that we work with feel free to contact us.

    Paul J. Wallin
    Wallin and Klarich

  6. Paul Jeffrey Wallin

    Pro

    Contributor Level 10

    Answered . Federal criminal defense cases can be costly in terms of legal fees. However, you will likely want to seek out a highly experienced criminal defense attorney who practices in Nevada. This will save you money because that will avoid paying for travel time. If you wish our law firm to refer you to an experienced lawyer in Nevada that we work with feel free to contact us.

    Paul J. Wallin
    Wallin and Klarich

  7. Russell Sheridan Babcock

    Contributor Level 8

    Answered . I agree with what everyone else has said except candidly 150,000 does sound like the high end of the reasonable range. I have done similar cases for a third of this amount.

    Sometimes an attorney can have local counsel handle the routine court appearances and only travel to the other state for the more important parts of the case, trial, change of plea , motions , sentencing etc.

    A reasonable range for a very experienced criminal attorney is $300 per hour and up plus travel fees. Thus a case that can handled in 100 hours might be able to be done for $50,000 or less with travel fees.

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